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Thread: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

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    Join Date
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    "Lamorinda" California
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    Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    I'm a new pool owner from a REO purchase so I've no historical info.
    Polaris 380 performance is erratic. Wheels stop turning until manually jogged. Stalls nose down. Tail often pops out of pool and sprays house and windows, etc.
    A pool maintenance service seems to have been working on the cleaner as I've found small hose pieces in the trash. Bank wouldn't say who they are so I'm unable to contact them so far.

    I will soon investigate wheel rpm, internal leaks, pressure relief leaks, etc. I suspect hose is too short. It has a RED relief valve on the fitting into the pool side.

    My question is, is it worth investing in 380, or is the 280 really just as good/better and more reliable?
    Seems like I can buy a new 280 for somewhat more than a total rebuild of 380.
    Also, how do I remove the hose fitting from pool side to check screen for debris?

    These forums are wonderful.
    Thanks so much for your help.
    -Keith
    ~29K gal, 20'x36' rectangular, outdoor IG plaster, built in '74. Intelliflo VF; Sta-rite system 3 w/300sq ft. Liquidator 8Gal-3/8ug; Polaris 380 sweep & PB4 booster. Equip. is in shed on ground level pad.

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    South Central NJ
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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    The tail will do that with both models. Fortunately, it's only an annoyance and doesn't normally result in a great loss of water.

    I would spend the time to see what is wrong with it. If it appears in good shape and just needs some minor work budget for the replacement, fix the old for less and bank the rest of the money for future use. It might be something as simple time to change the belts or a clogged jet needing to be cleared with a poke from a paper clip.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    stev32k's Avatar
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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    The hose fitting comes loose from the wall with just a counter clockwise twist. If it's hard to remove put a very thin layer of silicone lubricant on the O-ring. Polaris has changed the inlet screen on newer models. The screen is now located in a clear plastic bubble just after the wall fitting. Now one can see if the screen is plugged just by looking and you don't have to remove the hose from the wall and pull the screen out to check for debris.

    I don't have any experience with the 380, but I have the 280 and it's to see how any cleaner could work better. It does an excellent job of picking up every thing on the bottom and sides. The only problem I've had is that it gets stuck behind the ladder in the deep end.
    20' x 40' IG with vinyl liner volume approx. 35,000 gal.1.5 H.P. main pump, Polaris 280 cleaner W/ 3/4 H.P. booster pump
    Hayward sand filter, 3.14 sq ft, 62 gpm. Stenner 45 MPH10 chlorine feed pump. 1 micron final filter bags (home made and very effective)

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    The tail will do that with both models. Fortunately, it's only an annoyance and doesn't normally result in a great loss of water.
    OK, thanks. Part of my concern is the pool chemicals "etching" large plate window glass and killing plants.
    Does lowering the sweep hose pressure do much to reduce this out-of-pool spraying?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    I would spend the time to see what is wrong with it. If it appears in good shape and just needs some minor work budget for the replacement, fix the old for less and bank the rest of the money for future use. It might be something as simple time to change the belts or a clogged jet needing to be cleared with a poke from a paper clip.
    Scott
    OK, I'll check it out further.
    Are the hoses/floats/reverser for 280 and 380 the same?
    Thanks!
    ~29K gal, 20'x36' rectangular, outdoor IG plaster, built in '74. Intelliflo VF; Sta-rite system 3 w/300sq ft. Liquidator 8Gal-3/8ug; Polaris 380 sweep & PB4 booster. Equip. is in shed on ground level pad.

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    The hose fitting comes loose from the wall with just a counter clockwise twist. If it's hard to remove put a very thin layer of silicone lubricant on the O-ring. Polaris has changed the inlet screen on newer models. The screen is now located in a clear plastic bubble just after the wall fitting. Now one can see if the screen is plugged just by looking and you don't have to remove the hose from the wall and pull the screen out to check for debris.
    Great. Thank you. Do you know if I can retrofit the clear bubble to the existing setup? Perhaps changing the wall fitting as well, I assume?

    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    I don't have any experience with the 380, but I have the 280 and it's to see how any cleaner could work better. It does an excellent job of picking up every thing on the bottom and sides. The only problem I've had is that it gets stuck behind the ladder in the deep end.
    I assume yours also sprays the sky?
    Any comments on how often? E.g., averages every minute, 5 minutes, 1/2 hr, etc.
    Thanks much!
    ~29K gal, 20'x36' rectangular, outdoor IG plaster, built in '74. Intelliflo VF; Sta-rite system 3 w/300sq ft. Liquidator 8Gal-3/8ug; Polaris 380 sweep & PB4 booster. Equip. is in shed on ground level pad.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    stev32k's Avatar
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    Mobile, Alabama
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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    Quote Originally Posted by kabbak
    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    The hose fitting comes loose from the wall with just a counter clockwise twist. If it's hard to remove put a very thin layer of silicone lubricant on the O-ring. Polaris has changed the inlet screen on newer models. The screen is now located in a clear plastic bubble just after the wall fitting. Now one can see if the screen is plugged just by looking and you don't have to remove the hose from the wall and pull the screen out to check for debris.
    Great. Thank you. Do you know if I can retrofit the clear bubble to the existing setup? Perhaps changing the wall fitting as well, I assume?

    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    I don't have any experience with the 380, but I have the 280 and it's to see how any cleaner could work better. It does an excellent job of picking up every thing on the bottom and sides. The only problem I've had is that it gets stuck behind the ladder in the deep end.
    I assume yours also sprays the sky?
    Any comments on how often? E.g., averages every minute, 5 minutes, 1/2 hr, etc.

    Thanks much!
    It would be easy to retrofit the new in-line strainer. Just cut your hose about 6" from the wall fitting and use compression nuts to attach the new strainer. You don't need a new wall fitting just take the screen out of the existing one and use it like always.

    Yes, mine does spray water out occasionally. When it climbs a wall and nearly comes out of the pool it will do a 180 degree turn and the tail will flip and spray out. That does not happen too often. If yours is spraying out too much you might need to reduce the amount of water going the tail. The tail should make a gentle back and forth sweep staying on the bottom. If it is whipping around and going up and down reduce the water flow by screwing in the adjusting screw.

    P.S. The part number for the in-line strainer is 48-080
    20' x 40' IG with vinyl liner volume approx. 35,000 gal.1.5 H.P. main pump, Polaris 280 cleaner W/ 3/4 H.P. booster pump
    Hayward sand filter, 3.14 sq ft, 62 gpm. Stenner 45 MPH10 chlorine feed pump. 1 micron final filter bags (home made and very effective)

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    "Lamorinda" California
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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    Quote Originally Posted by kabbak
    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    The hose fitting comes loose from the wall with just a counter clockwise twist. If it's hard to remove put a very thin layer of silicone lubricant on the O-ring. Polaris has changed the inlet screen on newer models. The screen is now located in a clear plastic bubble just after the wall fitting. Now one can see if the screen is plugged just by looking and you don't have to remove the hose from the wall and pull the screen out to check for debris.
    Great. Thank you. Do you know if I can retrofit the clear bubble to the existing setup? Perhaps changing the wall fitting as well, I assume?

    Quote Originally Posted by stev32k
    I don't have any experience with the 380, but I have the 280 and it's to see how any cleaner could work better. It does an excellent job of picking up every thing on the bottom and sides. The only problem I've had is that it gets stuck behind the ladder in the deep end.
    I assume yours also sprays the sky?
    Any comments on how often? E.g., averages every minute, 5 minutes, 1/2 hr, etc.

    Thanks much!
    It would be easy to retrofit the new in-line strainer. Just cut your hose about 6" from the wall fitting and use compression nuts to attach the new strainer. You don't need a new wall fitting just take the screen out of the existing one and use it like always.

    Yes, mine does spray water out occasionally. When it climbs a wall and nearly comes out of the pool it will do a 180 degree turn and the tail will flip and spray out. That does not happen too often. If yours is spraying out too much you might need to reduce the amount of water going the tail. The tail should make a gentle back and forth sweep staying on the bottom. If it is whipping around and going up and down reduce the water flow by screwing in the adjusting screw.

    P.S. The part number for the in-line strainer is 48-080
    Screen had plenty of debris accumulated. I'll open body up today to see what's making the wheels bind and check health in general.
    I also think the hose is not long enough since the hose end fails to reach corner of pool.
    Can the hosing be replaced keeping the existing floats, swivels, reverser, etc. or is it very hard to remove those and refit to new?
    Since I don't know how old the cleaner is (is serial number a way to tell?), I'm wondering if a rebuild kit will be necessary pretty soon. Hence original question about what to invest in.
    Thanks again for the great help!
    ~29K gal, 20'x36' rectangular, outdoor IG plaster, built in '74. Intelliflo VF; Sta-rite system 3 w/300sq ft. Liquidator 8Gal-3/8ug; Polaris 380 sweep & PB4 booster. Equip. is in shed on ground level pad.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    Latest update regarding why this unit has been failing is that impeller bearing and housing bearing on other end of impeller shaft had only a few balls left in their bearings!
    I found a few balls in the bottom of the unit's case.

    Unit is pretty old as it has the two piece blue housing top.

    It also appears the leader hose is too short (much less than the recommended pool depth), there are too few floats on the feed hose and the hoses seem quite old and stiff. E.g., they no longer have ANY printing on them.

    I've ordered a tuneup kit, hoses and floats and will see what installing all that does. I guess this means I've committed to the Polaris 380
    Thanks!
    ~29K gal, 20'x36' rectangular, outdoor IG plaster, built in '74. Intelliflo VF; Sta-rite system 3 w/300sq ft. Liquidator 8Gal-3/8ug; Polaris 380 sweep & PB4 booster. Equip. is in shed on ground level pad.

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Fixup 380 or get a new 280

    So I've rebuilt my 380 with the Polaris tune-up (not rebuild) kit. I also discovered it was missing the second swivel connecting the leader line to the feed line. Also the leader line was way too short and missing floats. I fixed all those problems.

    So now it's running quite well. Single wheel speed is 30 rpm. I'm also using the Aquawerx bags, which I like.

    I've ordered a replacement case for the backup/reverser as mine is so worn it's leaking out the side of the jet at the o-ring!

    It still gets tangled occasionally, but generally works quite well. I suspect tuning of the float placements and hose length along with a non leaking reverser will get it working even better.

    So in summary, it was worth investing in and cheaper than changing to a new 280.
    Thanks for the help!
    ~29K gal, 20'x36' rectangular, outdoor IG plaster, built in '74. Intelliflo VF; Sta-rite system 3 w/300sq ft. Liquidator 8Gal-3/8ug; Polaris 380 sweep & PB4 booster. Equip. is in shed on ground level pad.

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